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Are Calorie Restrictive Diets the Best Option for Optimum Health and Weight?

Learn why you need to be careful of those “lose 30 pounds in 30 day diets.”

As we proceed to the bathing suit season, there is more and more pressure to try that new, calorie restrictive diet in the race to lose weight and slim down.  For me, I really don’t like the word “diet”, as diets are typically a nutrition plan that one starts and then stops when the “new weight goal” is reached.  And, what day are most “diets” started?  Mondays of course.  Usually, the weekend preceding the start Monday means load up on all of the foods you really like and can’t have after Monday.  And now that you are starting your diet, you are now thinking about food that never really entered your mind before. 

Also, it won’t take many days for your body under a severe calorie reduction, to sound the internal alarm that the body is now in “starvation” mode, which will turn down the metabolism as much as 30% in the effort to help preserve our muscles and other organs from lack of nutrition/food.  Usually, those who have gained extra pounds have done it slowly over time.  Our bodies do not like “rapid” weight changes in any direction as we want to stay in balance. 

So, what happens when we attempt to lose weight too fast by sheer willpower, we can reduce our weight 30 pounds in 30 days, but congratulations, we lost weight and gained fat.  That’s right, when you lose more than about 2-3 pounds per week, for most people the remaining weight loss is lost muscle.

What I recommend to our clients is to remember slow and steady is a much better approach.  Let’s come up with a custom nutrition and exercise plan that targets a slow weight but high fat loss.  Something that I believe we need to understand is that “weight” is not always the best indicator of health.  Think about what gets weighed when we get on the scale.  First is bone weight-heavier is better right?  Second is muscle weight-heavier is better.  Third is subcutaneous fat, which we need.  Last is visceral fat, which is what we want to lose.  A better indication alone is waist measurement to height.  For both men and women our waist size should not be more than one-half our height in inches.  So, for a man who is 6 feet tall, (72”), his waist size should not be more that 36”.  And, smaller waist size is better.  This measurement along with body fat composition, muscle mass and hydration is a much better indicator that health than weight or BMI (Body Mass Index). 

Remember, SLOW AND STEADY ALWAYS WINS THIS RACE!  It’s always all about healthy lifestyle for a lifetime of great health.  Till next time

Paul Jolie is the owner of Vibrant Life Fitness in Dacula, Ga.

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